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Scottish protection of shopworkers law to come into force on 24 August – Usdaw welcomes this and urges to UK Government to follow suit

Date: 07 June 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s announcement by the Scottish Government, confirming that a new law to protect shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse will come into force on 24 August 2021.
The ground-breaking legislation was supported by MSPs after Usdaw’s long-running campaign led to the Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill, which was successfully steered through the Scottish Parliament by Daniel Johnson MSP (Labour, Edinburgh Southern).

Tracy Gilbert – Usdaw’s Scottish Regional Secretary says: “We welcome today’s confirmation that ground-breaking legislation to protect shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse will come in to force on 24 August. We again thank Daniel Johnson MSP and all MSPs for listening to the pleas of our members and giving them the legislative support they so desperately need.

“Retail staff have been on the frontline throughout the coronavirus crisis, helping to keep our communities fed, despite the risks of contracting the virus. Our 2020 survey showed that 9 in 10 shopworkers had been abused last year. This new law firmly backs up Usdaw’s clear message that abuse is not part of the job.

“We are now looking to work with the Scottish Government, police and retailers to promote the new law. We want criminals to understand that assaulting and abusing shopworkers is unacceptable and will land them with a stiffer sentence. Our hope is that this new legislation will result in retail staff getting the respect they deserve.”

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The Scottish Parliament is leading the way on protection of shopworkers. Today our petition for similar legislation in the UK Parliament is being debated in the House of Commons.

“We urge MPs to support the aims of our petition and persuade the Government to back legislation to protect shopworkers. They have the perfect opportunity by accepting an amendment from Sarah Jones MP to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which we hope will be supported in the bill committee.

“Retail employers, leading retail bodies and the shopworkers’ trade union are jointly calling for legislation, so it is time for the Government and MPs to listen. We are now looking for MPs to support key workers across the retail sector and help turn around the UK Government’s opposition and follow Scotland’s lead.”

Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Act 2021: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2021/6/contents
Usdaw’s 2020 survey of 2,729 shopworkers across the UK found that:
  • 88% experienced verbal abuse
  • 60% were threatened by a customer
  • 9% were assaulted
  • 79% of shopworkers say abuse was worse last year
The full report can be downloaded from: www.usdaw.org.uk/FFFReport2020
Usdaw petition: Protect retail workers from abuse, threats and violence: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/328621
Sarah Jones MP: NC45 amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, “Offence of assaulting etc. retail worker” https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-02/0005/amend/police_rm_pbc_0524.pdf
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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